Second Trimester Checklist
By Laura E. Stachel
The middle of your pregnancy may offer a respite from some of your earlier pregnancy symptoms. Your nausea will likely subside, your fatigue may lift, and your energy should improve.

  • You’ll feel your baby’s first movements between 16 and 23 weeks. These initial gentle “flutters” will eventually give way to fairly obvious pokes and jabs.
  • You’ll have a chance to hear your baby’s heart beat at each prenatal visit, and an opportunity to see your baby’s anatomy on ultrasound between 16 and 20 weeks.
  • The quad marker screen (which includes the AFP test), done between 15 and 20 weeks, screens for neural tube defects and chromosomal problems. If this screening test is abnormal, you’ll be offered further testing to determine if your baby is healthy.
  • If you’ve chosen to have genetic testing, an amniocentesis will be done around 16 weeks.
  • During flu season, obtain a flu vaccine if you’re more than 14 weeks pregnant.
  • You can finally begin “eating for two.” This amounts to an extra 300 calories a day, the equivalent of 1 ounce of cold cereal, a banana and a cup of skim milk. Choose low-fat, nutritious foods: a baked potato and 10 potato chips both have 100 calories, but the potato is obviously much healthier.
  • Take advantage of your surge in energy to exercise at least 30 minutes a day (with your doctor’s approval). Healthy options include swimming, prenatal aerobics, yoga, light weight lifting, water aerobics and walking.
  • Always use a seat belt when riding in a car. Fasten the lower seat belt below your growing belly (across your upper thighs), and place the upper harness between your breasts and above your uterus.
  • You’ll need new clothes to show off your changing contour. New clothes can be purchased, but used maternity clothes and borrowed items are often just as good. As you expand your wardrobe, choose clothes that will be suitable for breastfeeding later on.
  • Looking ahead: this is the time to sign up for childbirth classes and breastfeeding classes for your third trimester.

  • Common 2nd Trimester tests: Amniocentesis for genetic testing, triple or quad marker test to screen for birth defects, ultrasound to check baby’s anatomy and size.
  • Common 2nd Trimester symptoms: Weight gain, constipation, occasional headaches, indigestion, heartburn, nasal congestion, stretch marks, occasional faintness or dizziness.
  • Signs that you need medical help: Bleeding, persistent cramping or contractions, severe abdominal pain, severe headaches, high fever (>100.5°F), gush or flow of watery fluid from your vagina.